Tag: Horror

The Stylist

Click HERE to see my interview with the director and HERE to see my interview with the main star of the film!

One of the scariest concept horror movies you could probably watch this year would definitely be about getting a hair cut. Why the battle of the lockdowns started with people protesting hair care, I don’t know. I haven’t had my hair cut since January (and it is a lot of hair now), but I am not dying from it, you know?

In The Stylist, we are going to have people dying from getting their hair cut. Okay, they don’t die from the hair being cut actually, it is usually the other parts of the body that get cut that really does the job.

But maybe the whole movie is a metaphor? A quiet virus waiting to strike in the most unlikely of places? Let’s run with that.

hair cut
Yeah, I’d be nervous with anyone behind me trying to cut my hair.
Claire (Najarra Townsend) is a quiet hair stylist. She is good at her job. People often compliment her skills. She doesn’t force extra small talk, but does what is required. Hell, some people love her for that, because they can do all the talking.

But Claire also, you know, sometimes, if the feeling is right…kills her clients. You know, ones who wouldn’t be repeat customers, or who wouldn’t have people looking for them, and don’t know they are at that specific shop. Thank goodness these women like to say so much personal stuff to someone they don’t know!

Claire doesn’t just kill them though. she does the full descalping, making sure the hair that was cut is preserved and then she can wear it herself! She can pretend to be another person, yay!

The plot of this movie comes about when one of Claire’s normal clients, Olivia (Brea Grant), is in desperate need of a new stylist for her wedding. This puts Claire into her social circle, with new women friends, and into Olivia’s home. What’s a murder stylist to do, you know?

hair head
It would be creepier if she worse the face too, we all agree, right?

As already mentioned, The Stylist potentially picked the perfect time to come out during the virus issues that have plagued the US this year. But really, any movie coming out now has picked a bad time to come out, so it is a hard balance.

The Stylist was based off of a short of the same name, same director and star, and led to a successful crowdfunding campaign to make it into a full film. In this film, we figure out what is going on with this stylist, why does she do the things she does (sort of), and all of this leads to a logical conclusion by the end.

Because it is a logical conclusion, it does take away some of the weight or shock of its impact, but I am a little disappointed in that what is happening can be predicted with ease.

The film shines in its early moments and in the general creepiness of the lead, when she isn’t even going for creepy, but because she is atypical in her actions that is how it comes across, digging her deeper into despair.

I know so little about hair styling for weddings that I had to ask my wife, “Wait, why would someone get their hair done days before the wedding, don’t they sleep and get messed up with pillows?”. Ah test styling. That is a thing.

Overall, this is a film that works well when focusing on the strong lead acting and strange nature of her job and uh….side job?, telling a story that is believable for the most part, but little shocks along the way.

2 out of 4.

One Cut of the Dead

One Cut of the Dead is a Japanese independent film from the last year or years, it is hard to say. It has had a weird road to distribution.

Made with mostly unknown actors and for a ridiculously cheap budget, it made back over 1,000 times its investment, which is a pretty goddamn unheard of percent for movies. I know it was hitting festivals and getting a lot of good buzz, and then at one point it was…put on Amazon!

But, it wasn’t supposed to be put on Amazon. Someone had an older unfinished copy, and just put it on Amazon prime for free. Did you know you can just do that? It is apparently really easy. And one it was on Amazon, many people rushed out to see it, and tell other’s to see it because it was a critical darling. The same day, news came out that the people who own it didn’t upload it, it was unfinished copy, and to please not watch it while it was worked out.

Well shit. That kind of screwed over a lot of things.

Anyways, at this point it is on amazon again, but for money, and the right version. So you can watch it and feel confident someone involved is getting money for it.

camera
Like this guy who is holding the camera!

One man had a vision. Director Higurashi (Takayuki Hamatsu) had the idea for a zombie film, an idea that would be so scary and amazing. But his shitty actors were not giving him enough emotion.

We are talking take, after take, after take, and it just is not good enough for the director.

So while he went to go cool down, and the actors relaxed and got to know each other, normal stuff between takes. But something odd happened. Some sounds from the outside. Some…limbs from outside. Oh shit, real zombies! in the middle of their zombie film!

Now the director can get some real emotions out of his cast.

Also starring Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi Shuhama, Kazuaki Nagaya, Hiroshi Ichihara, and Mao.

bloody
Those zombies aren’t going to double kill themselves!
One Cut of The Dead is a unique film, there is no one who can deny that. In fact, it is so unique, it is also equally hard to even talk about it because it is a film that should be discovered, not spoiled.

And yes, the idea of spoiling can be kicked around enough, but trust us, the critics, me, when we say, just gotta go in some times to see the journey.

I couldn’t believe what the film managed to do and convey. It is extremely impressive, given the lack of budget or names involved, even from a Foreign film perspective. It required a lot of work. It required planning. And it required people who were creative as fuck. People who really had a vision and executed it perfectly.

One Cut of the Dead is a comedy more than a horror, and it will be hard to find something more unique than it before or after for awhile. Not even an American remake will likely be as unique. [As of writing, no plans for American remake, but sorry for jinxing it should it change in the future].

It is definitely an experience, and I watched it directly after Train to Busan! A very different foreign zombie film that is top notch in very differeny ways. And yet, this one still was able to stand out on its own.

4 out of 4.

Underwater

To start this review, let’s talk about Underwater as a concept.

What does it mean to be underwater? Usually, someone who says that they are underwater means they have water above them. And they are rarely actually under water while speaking, because that is hard to do when surrounded by water.

But if you have water over you, there is a good chance you still have more water under you too. Right? To be under something you really just need to be under a little bit of it apparently. You can be completely surrounded by water, so why would you be so weirdly specific in order to just say you are under it?

Seems ridiculous. Speaking of being ridiculous and not super specific, let’s get on to the review.

swimsuit
Not much water surrounding these folks!

As you will try to read very quickly at the start of the film, as newspaper headlines/taglines/regular lines flash across the screen with the occasional strobe, there are big underwater research/drilling sites. Super big, bottom of the ocean, with drills going far down. Why? Energy or something. And I guess some earthquakes are happening and weird things. But we don’t have time for that.

We only have time for Norah (Kristen Stewart), who is contemplating what it means to exist and sleep and work, when the explosions immediately start rocking the ship. Panic, running, and immediately she helps save the day by blocking the water from blowing up the whole place. Norah, along with some stranglers she meets (Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller) make it up to the escape pods, and darn it, they are already gone.

She does meet the captain (Vincent Cassel) and some more crew members (Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr.) and realize they don’t have much time to get out. The top is collapsing. The bottom is flooded. They make a quick plan to descend to the sea floor, get int these sweet underwater suits, and walk a long distance to an older station that should still have some escape pods. It is their only chance.

But what caused the explosions down there? What made the horrible sounds in the last drill recording, what is banging on their walls, and what is out for their blood?

new swim suits
Not great for speed swimming, but good for not blowing up purposes.

I expected Underwater to be much worse than it actually ended up being.

I saw a giant standee for it a few months ago and sent it to my wife that it would be bad. It had T.J. Miller on the standee, third name! What? The Bomb threat guy? The one who beat his girlfriend? The drunk and wants to fight man? Why is he in a movie right now?

Oh, turns out this was made in 2017, before a lot of that, and took forever to come out.

Now surprinsgly, it wasn’t completely terrible. Miller was terrible yes. And the film early on had an issue where it refused to let the audience fully react to scenes or let us see how characters got out of a jam. Quick jumps in time, that gets us through potentially boring struggles I guess? One quite annoying one had them crashing to the sea floor on a ride, hurrying to get the door open to jump, and then the next instant they were all on the sea floor running. What the hell? Where’s my jump?

A lot of the film uses the dark depths and hard to distinguish up/down to its advantage to confuse the viewer. But honestly, the monsters were really a cool design. I love what they did with them. Reminded me of underwater ghost vampires in a way, and sure, Cthulhu in another.

This film gets straight to the point at the beginning, and isn’t a long run time. It is relatively predictable, but it has some sweet visuals that can produce some scares and some relatively fun moments.

2 out of 4.

Climax

I was told a few warnings about Climax before watching it. Not about actual content, but more about the director, Gaspar Noé.

A controversial fellow, Noé has done plenty of films that I have never seen and shorts I have never seen. Apparently Love was very graphic, but I never got around to it.

I can expect a movie called Climax to be graphic. It is sort of there, in the name. I can hear warnings about French film, but that is really hard to put into one box.

No matter the warnings I received, none of them were really enough and none of them could really explain just what I was getting myself into when I decided to finally check out Climax.

showoff
And I felt. fabulous! No, wait. The opposite of that word!

In this movie, we have a few people who are getting a dance troupe together. Selva (Sofia Boutella) is the lead dancer of the troupe, and is working with someone else to pick people for their group and the music. I won’t tag anyone else in it, because everyone else is professional music people/dancers in some way only, and that is why they are in this movie.

The movie opens with a big, long dance sequence in one shot that is interesting, but strange. No wait, before that they show clips from fake interviews with these dancers on questions they asked before joining the troupe. No wait, before that, we see a woman bloody running in the snow. Oh.

After the big dance number, we get to see people talking. People dancing. Some interactions between a few of the characters. Back and forth talks between just pairs, making you really strain to pay attention to the plot point of the film. This is where you get backstory, kind of, sort of! After that confusion ends, we go back to dancing and people interacting.

But, the dancing gets stronger. The people get angrier. The people get weirder. Oh no, someone spiked the sangria and a lot of people are now going on a bad trip.

And then a lot of bad stuff happens the rest of the night, resulting in some deaths, some rape, some deaths, some uncomfortable moments, some sex, some dancing, and some other gross unfortunate terrible moments. Hooray!

dance
Hooray?

I think I definitely did more of a plot description than normal compared to other films. And it feels justified.

There are quite obvious from the conversations early on that seem to be the main focus, and some of the characters who are definitely less of a nice person. The interview portion is completely forgettable after the dance, and probably should be rewatched for clues now that you know the characters better. But it is a huge struggle early on to remember what aspects of what characters were told and are important, with there being such a big cast of dancers and the conversations going so quick.

Now, once the tone shift happens in the film, and everyone starts to get on the bad trip, it definitely gives an uncomfortable feeling to the viewer. Oh no, bad things. And guess what? Basically every bad thing you can imagine happening, based on the earlier conversations and events, totally does happen.

It is very predictable in regards to probably the three worse things that occur in the movie. And this is a wildly gross and sometimes scary film, but having the worst/grossest parts easy to guess seems odd. Basically, if it could go bad, it does go bad.

I will admit, I first just assumed everyone was going to die in some extreme ridiculous ways, and not a lot of people die by the end. But no one is super happy by the end. People have been violated, or killed, or threatened, or raped, and it is just uncomfortable moment after uncomfortable moment. And the whole time we are getting a constant trance background beat, with some characters constantly screaming in the background. We get a power outage and thus, more darkness, a “scarier” hue to the whole thing, and even more bad stuff.

It has a lot of uncomfortable moments, but at no point does it feel worth it. Like you should have to see it, like any character deserves their fate. It is just basic exploitation for the sake of.

And what the hell. There were like, three times in the first half of the film where we got opening credits. I don’t know what was going on there.

0 out of 4.

Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark

There was quite a lot of nostalgic hype for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark when it was coming out. Well put together trailers, books come to life, all of that.

Now, unfortunately for me I never read the stories so I didn’t ride the hype train. Fortunately for me, I am a critic and shouldn’t read the source material first. I definitely read some other non-Goosebump series of stories in 3rd or 4th grade, that had sequels, but I couldn’t recall those titles.

Despite that, it looked really good from the trailers from what I saw. A horror movie aimed at families and kids, without relying on slapstick jokes every other sentence. Kids should have entryways into horror, and this looked like something I would show my own family and creep them the heck out.

house
Ah, a haunted house, how original.
Got a small town? Then you probably got a haunted house.

This small town is like many others. Notably white, jocks can do whatever they want, rampant racism, and more.

So our main group of friends (Zoe Margaret Colletti, Austin Zajur, Gabriel Rush) run into this Hispanic dude from outside of the town (Michael Garza), and because he helped them, they are now best buds.

And so of course they take him to the local haunted house, what else are they supposed to do so close to Halloween? And sure enough, they find a secret passage, maybe a torture room, one with a nice book. So our lead takes the book to read later!

And weirdly enough, the book begins to write stories so she can read a long. This seems to match up with some kids disappearing. Very scary. Oh no, are they all going to die now?

Also starring Kathleen Pollard, Lorraine Toussaint, Natalie Ganzhorn, Austin Abrams, Gil Bellows, and Dean Norris.

hallways
I couldn’t tell you why this was scary, but it did look fun. 
Ahh, stories!

I will give this movie props for one thing. It killed off kids and/or made them disappear forever, and we do not get a resolution out of that. Oh they tease a sequel on trying to fix it, sure, but no in movie resolution. Those. Kids. Are. Dead.

And most of the kids in the movie, outside of the bully, are main characters! They didn’t just kill off a lot of side kids and leave our fab four, no, they were gutted as well. And movies for this age group rarely do that. Since this movie is based on an anthology of short horror stories, they could have done whatever they wanted, and they went the darkest timeline.

And yet, for me, it did bore me a lot at times. The stories were okay. I’m sure they were ones in the book. But they didn’t do a lot in order to make them super relevant to each other or the plot, but instead random happenings and creeps. Some of them were based on their real life town, some based on stories they heard as a kid, and some based on absolutely nothing. They could have done a lot better job at meshing them together.

Overall, this film had a singular goal as far as I can tell, besides nostalgia money. They wanted to scare my kids, and yes, they did succeed at that.

2 out of 4.

Satanic Panic

It’s Spooktober, so it is time to watch a lot more horror movies and actually get off my ass and review them. Especially if those horror movies aren’t super mainstream, because I will be honest, there aren’t really any coming out this month? Where the hell are the horror movies? Is it too cliche to come out in October now?

Satanic Panic came out last month to VOD, and I am surprised it didn’t get a theatrical release. Based on the name alone, it could have gotten a lot of people in the theaters.

Comedy horrors don’t always pack the seats in, and its mostly unknown people, and sure maybe religions groups would boycott, and maybe it wouldn’t get an R rating as easily if it planned to go to theaters. Oh okay, I guess it makes sense to be straight to video.

panic panic
Here is the panic!

Gypsy (Arden Myrin) is just down on her goddamn luck. She has a little scooter, just got a job delivering pizzas, but really has no other assets. She needs money for gas and to build up funds to finally better her life. But it turns out, people suck at tipping and delivering pizza is a lame as hell job.

And Gypsy gets really annoyed when she delivers a really big order to a mansion, and gets absolutely nothing extra. Shit. She is almost out of gas. She can’t find the guy who paid for the pizza, but barges in anyways and sees some sort of meeting going on, led by some sort of inspirational speaker, Danica (Rebecca Romjin). Lot of red.

Next thing she knows, she is locked in a room with some man (Jerry O’Connell). She is going to be part of a ritual? To be sacrified? For a demon?

No way. That’s all made up shit. Rich people are crazy.

Also starring Hayley Griffith, Ruby Modine, and AJ Bowen.

cult
Here is the Satanic!

Satanic Panic is very graphic, as graphic as the name implies it should be. Gore, sex, creepy ritual shit. A lot of deaths and red. It is not something those with the faint of heart would watch. But of course, it is a comedy, the extreme nature of these deaths is part of the fun and the reason you’d want to see.

The characters involved are all okay. They give appropriate levels of freakout and evilness. It is definitely a film where the women are here to shine showcase their talents.

Overall, it is exactly what it set out to be. An enjoyable experience, with a lot of surprise deaths. I will note that being a pizza delivery person appears to be a very unsafe job. We had this VOD film about them, and last year we had another VOD film in Slice. Why do they gotta scare us so much of the time as delivery people? I don’t want to be killed when I am just trying to make a buck.

3 out of 4.

Ready or Not

I was hoping Ready or Not would fill a very specific niche I thought I needed in my life. A movie so graphic and funny and entertaining, I could look past its flaws and just have a good quick night out at the movies.

From the advertising, that is what it looked like it was going for! It had a very strong You’re Next vibe, but with more ridiculous of a plot, and a slight game theme, to tingle my innards. Mostly full of lesser known roles would lead it to be something where many could shine and a lot of creative deaths!

But to be fair, I also assumed that The Belko Experiment would fulfill a similar niche. And it didn’t. The plot was wasted, the deaths (a majority) were boring and just, meh.

So Ready or Not could go either way, I see it!

Gun
Hell, and this image has a nice Evil Dead / Ash vibe going for it.

Grace (Samara Weaving) and Alex (Mark O’Brien) are getting married! They have only known each other for 18 months, but they are in love. And it turns out Alex is from a really, really rich family. Richer than god. Board game things, for hundreds of years, and they are wealthy af.

Grace didn’t know that! She is not a gold digger. And she knows that Alex is not close with his family, but hopes that this wedding and herself can maybe bring them closer together and bring Alex back into the fold. A good idea. They seem mad at her, but she they are having the wedding at their mansion so help appease things.

Well apparently there was just one more part of the deal to be made and everything would be peachy. They just had to gather at midnight on the night of the wedding, and do a ritual game play. And unfortunately for Grace, she drew Hide and Seek, which thanks to that families alleged deal with a devil, they have to hunt her and sacrifice her before dawn. Or else.

Grace thinks this is the worst wedding night ever. We here at Gorgon Reviews tend to agree.

Also starring Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Elyse Levesque, John Ralston, Kristian Bruun, Melanie Scrofano, and Nicky Guadagni.

Fam
Something something something in-laws, amirite? 

For a movie with a technically unique and fun concept, it really went out of its way to be as boring as possible for long stretches. Given the concept, we had plenty of points where it could have gone against the grain and it just refused.

Huge stretches in the middle have the entire extended family doing absolutely nothing (Despite starting off trying to do things) and just letting a butler attempt to fetch her. It would be one thing if that is how they started off the search, but they were all involved and then, eh, maybe he can do the impossible and find her on his own (Which should not have been doable) and save the day for them.

And it just dragged and wasn’t exciting. Because we were told that there was a ritual component that she had to be alive for, it also meant that sure, eventually the ritual would happen. It might work, it might not, who knows, but it would never get to the point where she just escapes before dawn. We were guaranteed for a set back for the ritual, and sure enough, a guarantee was made.

Early on it was more exciting, with a varied cast of characters. I do wish it went more quickly into the after wedding affairs, but that wasn’t too bad. The ending was relatively exciting as well, and quite eye popping at times. But then I think back to that middle, where there were so many family members, and how none apparently could be killed besides the occasional helper.

Again, wasted for a bigger climax, but ruined the thrills in the middle.

2 out of 4.

Crawl

Alexandre Aja is not a new director to the horror genre, and yet, so much about Crawl feels like a wonderful first film from a director no one has heard about.

Aja has direct films like The Hills Have Eyes and Mirrors, but his name isn’t well known amongst directors in general. I don’t want to blame the genre, because plenty of directors have become well known for being horror makers.

More recently he did Piranha 3D (so he has experience with the water), Horns (which wasn’t really a horror), and The 9th Life of Louis Drax (which made my top of the year list, but also, not horror). So he has been working a lot, and yet still, Crawl just seems to have come out of nowhere.

Like an alligator lurking in the water.

Gator
That doesn’t look like Wally at all!

Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a swim star in the collegiate level. She doesn’t win everything, but she has a big drive and wants to win it all. This drive was instilled in her by her father (Barry Pepper), who was her coach, and trainer, and cheerleader, and everything all of her life, because he knew she had a gift and could be something special.

Well, now that she is in college, with parental divorce, and distance, they have grown apart and argue more. And it also turns out there is a Category 5 Hurricane about to hit Florida. Shit, Haley doesn’t even really know about it too much, too focused on her sports. Her sister in Boston (Morfydd Clark. Such a Welsh name!) and warns her, while also noting she has not been able to get in contact with their dad. Maybe she knows something?

Well, Haley doesn’t but she still loves her dad. So she drives the two hours to go and find out where he is at, towards the hurricane, into areas that have been evacuated. She has to get past some lame security and old friends (Ross Anderson), but she finds her dad hurt in a basement, nowhere near his phone. She better hurry and get him to the vehicle before the storm gets worse.

Oh yeah, and an alligator is in the under house area as well, and now they are trapped. And then more alligators. Fuck.

Bathroom
“Shit, shower is in use. Now where will I bathe?” – Alligator, probably.
Crawl had a LOT of positives going for it, and probably one of the biggest surprises of the summer. It is insane how exciting a film is that didn’t even show itself to critics.

The movie has a great run time of under 90 minutes. Although even at that length, I kept being surprised that the movie still had “more to say” and new problems that got in the way to continually cause issues for our leads.

The best part of the ongoing sense of danger is that it came from two sides: The alligators, and the hurricane. A lot of films would focus on just the former and the latter would be an inconvenience, but they made the hurricane itself a big threat and one that continually made things worse for our heroes.

Aja has a lot of creativity in this movie, which looks great and very polished despite being in a pretty gross area. Which does lead to some of the complaints. For example, how clean most of the flood water was, despite being from a pond and hurricane rain water, which is generally not something you’d want to open your eyes in.

Another issue involves the injuries of the characters. It is great that they are not invincible and get hurt along the way. Unfortunately, after that slight inconvenience, it is quickly mostly ignored for the rest of the film. Throw a bandage on it, tie it tight, and continue being a bad ass swimmer or walker or human.

If this film could have accurately had the injuries also matter and gone for a bit of realism in that level, it would have had probably near perfect critical acclaim.

3 out of 4.

Midsommar

When Midsommar was announced, it became one of my top anticipated films of 2019.

Sure sure, a big part of that has to do with the theme. A horror movie, set mostly in daylight, and in Sweden? That is unique in itself, even if the plot ends up being weak. Location can mean everything.

The other big reason is that the director, Ari Aster, was ready to follow up his smashing success of Hereditary. Not only was it on my top of the year list, but it was the best horror of last year and had some best acting performances in my book. Clearly I would run towards any second movie he had to offer after that glorious first picture.

And also, Swedish people!

vacation
None of these people are Swedish. Well, one is. But can you tell he is Swedish?

Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Raynor) are having some problems with their relationship. They have been dating for awhile now, but they might be drifting. Dani’s family has been having a lot of personal drama, so Christian feels like it is never a good time for a breakup. And then, a bigger tragedy occurs, and sure, guess they need to keep this romance going.

Unrelated to their romance, Christian was invited to go to Sweden for a few weeks. Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren), a Swedish friend at their University, has invited his new friends to come see a festival in the commune where he grew up. They have yearly festivals around the middle of the summer, but this is the most special one that occurs only every 90 years. Also coming along are Josh (William Jackson Harper), who is working on a thesis about various cultures summer celebrations, Mark (Will Poulter), who is looking to score with some hot Swedish babes, and of course Dani, because she just needs something to distract her.

Now of course, this middle of nowhere, super northern, Swedish village far away from the main roads is going to be a bit weirder. And, given the time of year and location, they barely even have darkness. What a fun time to celebrate and frolic with the flowers. With this culture, their customs may seem strange to visitors. But they have done them for hundreds of years, so who is to say they are wrong?

Also starring a lot of Swedish people, including Liv Mjönes and Anna Åström.

scream
Ah yes, frolicking with the flowers.

Midsommar is definitely a movie, and one that took me awhile to be able to write about. Not weeks, just a few days. I wrote parts of the review right away, but I knew I needed to sit on my analysis.

First important note to point out is the film’s length. Very few horror films ever break 2 hours, and the ones that do end up being extremely successful or reach cult status. Midsommar is 2 hours and 20 minutes, almost unheard of for a horror (but not unheard of in terms of average movie length that seems to keep creeping upwards). Despite the length, I never once felt bored throughout the film, and mostly sat in awe of the beautiful cinematography, long shots, and colors.

In comparison to Hereditary, this is not as scary as his first film. It is definitely still unnerving/creepy, but for pure horror it lacks. It builds up its shocks and goes to an expected place by the end, but it is still satisfying and makes sense to get to that point.

Above all else, this is a film about a couple going through hard times and eventually going to have a break up. We know it, they know it, their friends know it. It just so happens that this break up is done in a unique and gory way.

Aster’s second major film is another win for him in terms of creativity, gorgeousness, and great acting performances. I cannot confirm yet if this is the case for sure, but you get to see a lot of Jack Raynor’s penis for those who have a check off list. It is probably actually him and not some CGI dick.

4 out of 4.

Annabelle Comes Home

Fuck. I didn’t see Annabelle: Creation. That was the sequel to Annabelle. I didn’t like Annabelle. I haven’t liked any offshoot of The Conjuring, but I have liked the first and second of those a whole lot.

Anyways, I heard Annabelle: Creation was better than Annabelle? No idea. But I still went to see Annabelle Comes Home in theaters anyways, because film critics don’t always do homework.

The good news is I can say that you definitely don’t have to see either of those Annabelle movies to understand this one. I’d say, seeing The Conjuring movies helps fully grasp this one better.

reflectI also haven’t seen the La Llorona, and it probably affects this movie zero. Probably.

First of all, for context, this movie takes place…at the start and/or during and/or right after The Conjuring. We get to see the Warrens (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) collect the doll, place it in their home, bless it and all that. And then?

Rush off to a job! So close to Judy’s (Mckenna Grace) birthday, their daughter. And they cant take her on these scary things. So instead they leave her in a house with scary things. But it is okay for a few reasons. The room of artifacts is blessed weekly, has tons of protections, and many locks. And hey, they’ve had stuff for awhile and nothing bad has happened.

Plus they have a really swell babysitter in Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), who is kind, takes care of Judy, and knows where to stay out of. She is not new at this.

What IS new about this situation is that Mary’s friend, Daniela (Katie Sarife) decided to stop by intrigued by the creepiness of the house. Sure enough, Daniela goes where she shouldn’t, lets some things open that she shouldn’t, and now the night is about to be full of terror.

Also starring Michael Cimino as hunky neighbor kid.

da fuq
What’s this? A fear unrelated to the title of the movie?

In Captain America: Civil War, it featured over 10 superheroes and villains, introduced new characters, featured a lot of fan service and was still pretty good. It also felt like Avengers 2.5 in a way, but it also still maintained that it was a Captain America movie the whole time, despite the extended cast.

Yes this is relevant to the review.

Annabelle Comes Home seems to want to be the Captain America: Civil War of the Warren Investigative universe. It is clearly a Conjuring-esque film, besides also featuring the Warrens, but in terms of the various threats. In each Conjuring film there is one main threat, but also a couple of minor ones. However, unlike Civil War, this did not do enough to feel like an Annabelle film.

In the other two Annabelle films, she is the lead, the star, the threat. In this film, her “power” makes all these other artifacts come to life and haunt accordingly, so much that each individual artifact seems to harass their own kid. And then a couple more for fun. Annabelle herself doesn’t seem scary, she is just a doll sitting there “mentally” doing things. The Conjuring films have these extra mini-horrors now in order to find what the fans like for their spinoff movies. This felt like they were throwing a dozen things at the screen just to hope for more spinoffs.

Annabelle Comes Home had a good sense of dread around it. But at the same time, I knew how the fate of all the characters would be by the end. It feels like a waste. This big evil powerful spirit doesn’t seem to really have an endgame here. Eventually they are just able to win, and scary stuff just remains scary, and I don’t know at what point was she ever planning on “winning” and getting the things she needed.

It has good scares. The plot is wack and the villain is wack. Just give me The Conjuring 3 already, please.

2 out of 4.